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AIDALA, BERTUNA & KAMINS PC: THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY AND THE DIRECTOR OF ITS PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM SUED IN FEDERAL COURT FOR TAKING PART IN A UAE-FINANCED SCHEME TO FALSELY LINK DOZENS OF SCHOLARS TO MIDDLE EAST TERRORIST GROUPS

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The George Washington University and Professor Lorenzo Vidino were sued in federal court today, accused of participating in a criminal enterprise that deployed fake journalists, social media bots and pay-to-play reporters to destroy the careers of dozens of individuals by constructing and disseminating false narratives linking them to the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization suspected of having terrorist ties. Documents show the operation was financed by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and overseen by Alp Services, S.A. of Switzerland, an investigative firm that was paid huge sums for its efforts.

Evidence of the campaign is included in some 8,000 documents from Alp Services that were captured by hackers in 2021 and turned over to European law enforcement agencies. The plaintiff in this lawsuit is Dr. Farid Hafez, an Austrian political scientist currently teaching at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. He is one of many victims of Arab descent who have been falsely branded terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.

Hafez’s suit is brought under the U.S. Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) and seeks $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Among the charges filed against Vidino and The George Washington University are civil racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, fraud in the inducement, common law fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud, tortious interference with contract, international money laundering, and deceptive trade practices. The suit also accuses Vidino of failing to register as a foreign agent for the UAE, as required under U.S. Justice Department statutes.

“We need to recognize that islamophobia, just like antisemitism, racism, or any other bigotry, is unacceptable in this country,” said David Schwartz, lead plaintiff attorney. “Hafez was one of many victims at the hands of Professor Vidino and George Washington University. Their actions are unconscionable – labeling people terrorists while doing the bidding of a foreign government. This type of propaganda is dangerous, and there must be consequences.”  

According to the lawsuit, Vidino secretly worked for Alp Services while serving as Director of The Program on Extremism at The George Washington University. Alp, in turn, was being paid millions of dollars by the UAE to oversee the defamation campaign.

According to this lawsuit, the narrative propagated by Vidino and his associates is that Hafez used his various academic positions to cultivate terrorist thought, despite any evidence to support this theory. Dozens of academics and ordinary citizens are also believed to have been similarly targeted and harmed by Vidino and Alp. 

The suit says Vidino presented himself as a disinterested academic with an expertise on terrorist figures and groups, feeding the narrative to both legitimate reporters and pay-to-play journalists, fellow academics and think-tanks that Hafez was deeply connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The George Washington University, which receives a portion of its funding from the UAE government, was complicit in the scheme, the suit alleges.

A copy of the lawsuit is available here:
https://acrobat.adobe.com/id/urn:aaid:sc:VA6C2:b7ff8cf9-a28c-495b-9631-a29a8027c3c2

Media Contact: Mark Goldman, Goldman McCormick PR
516.639.0988
Email: [email protected]

David M Schwartz, Esq
Email: [email protected]
Office: +1 212-641-0499

SOURCE Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins PC

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aidala-bertuna–kamins-pc-the-george-washington-university-and-the-director-of-its-program-on-extremism-sued-in-federal-court-for-taking-part-in-a-uae-financed-scheme-to-falsely-link-dozens-of-scholars-to-middle-east-terrorist–302107109.html
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